taking the words of Jesus seriously

Just a few minutes ago, it happened again. As my cab speeds to JFK, I think, “Mom will want to know that I am flying. Let me give her a quick call.”

I can’t call her anymore. After seven years of a heroic battle with stage four metastatic lung cancer, she died on April 25, two weeks after her 80th birthday. Early in her diagnosis, she was given six months to live. But because of the excellent medical care she received through the Affordable Care Act, she lived for seven years beyond her diagnosis.

Last week, I went to Washington and stood outside of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office to join my voice with a chorus of faith leaders demanding that the Affordable Care Act not be repealed. Because someone else’s mom needs cancer medicine. Someone else’s dad has diabetes. Someone’s baby will die without health care.

We were a Love Army of all races, ages, religions, genders and professions. As a Christian clergywoman, I must adhere to Jesus’ call to take care of the least of those among us: to feed and clothe the poor; to heal those who are sick. When we do this for our human family, we do it also for the Christ.

All of our sacred texts call us to compassion and mercy. They call us to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves.

My colleagues and I were arrested in Washington, because this fight is personal. As clergy, we will bury the sick denied health care. For the last three weeks, faith leaders have risked arrest to take a stand for health care and we will keep speaking out because someone else’s parent is sick. The 32 million people who will lose their healthcare ― they are real people with personal stories, hopes and dreams, and loved ones.

RELATED: The Holy Tradition of Going to Jail for Jesus by Shane Claiborne

People of faith are standing up in waves and waves of protests around the country and in DC. We will not silence our voices; we will call upon our leaders to live out the values of our Constitution and the faith they claim for their lives. We will keep standing up, because this fight is personal.

You might not be able to get to a protest, but you can:

1.) Call you Senator right now, 1-888-738-3058. Urge them to say “no” when asked to proceed with this debate on the Affordable Care Act.

2.) Sign this letter to President Trump, Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell.

3.) Follow these twitter handles to stay connected to this movement: Network Lobby (@NETWORKLobby), Faith in Public Life, (@TheRealFPL), Repairers of the Breach (@BRepairers), Auburn Seminary (@AuburnSeminary), Middle Church (@MiddleChurch), Standing on the Side of Love (@SideofLove), Red Letter Christians (@RedLetterXians), and me (@RevJacquiLewis). We’ll keep giving you things to do.

Tell the President, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate Majority Leader that we are sick and tired of the callous way they treat the sick. Tell them we are in a Love Revolution intent on healing our nation of greed and the blatant disregard of the poor.

A version of this article originally appeared in The Huffington Post and was modified with the author’s permission.

About The Author


Jacqui is Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a 900-member multiracial, welcoming, and inclusive congregation in New York City. She is an activist, preacher, and fierce advocate for racial equality, economic justice, and LGBTQ equality. Middle Church and Jacqui’s activism for these issues has been featured in media such as The Today Show, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Essence and The Huffington Post. Jacqui is a frequent contributor to MSNBC. Jacqui earned her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and earned a M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in Psychology and Religion from Drew University. She has been adjunct professor at seminaries across the country, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, and the Graduate Theological Union.

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